Solomon Islands Prime Minister, Manasseh Sogavare says he is very disappointed with the poor turnout of frontline government ministries and agencies in the COVID-19 vaccination program.

In a recent statement, Sogavare says he is extremely disappointed that many public servants did not turn up at the Central field hospital to take their COVID-19 vaccination shots.

“Let me remind all public servants in Solomon Islands that when you sign up to be a public servant, you sign up to serve and protect your people and your country. I am disappointed to learn that we have only vaccinated around 600 people in the first three days of vaccination in Honiara”, Sogavare says.

Solomon Islands began its vaccination program in Honiara on Wednesday 24th March 2021. 24000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine were sent to Solomon Islands via the COVAX Facility. Only 7000 doses were to remain in Honiara while 17000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine were allocated for frontliners and communities closer to the Papua New Guinea border. Prime Minister Sogavare was one of the first Solomon Islanders vaccinated with the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.

“We will not be able to protect this country from COVID-19 if most of our population which should be vaccinated are not vaccinated. I am extremely disappointed that most of our frontliners in the Ministry of Health and Medical Services, the National Referral Hospital, Honiara City Council Health and our frontline health personnel from Guadalcanal province who have been identified top priority for vaccination had not turned up”, Sogavare says.

He says there were questions raised as to why people should be vaccinated even though the country does not have community transmissions of COVID-19. Sogavare says now is the most suitable time for people to get vaccinated.

“If we wait for community transmission to occur before we vaccinate, it will be too late to stop the virus from entering and taking a hold in the country”, Sogavare says.

Solomon Islanders are still sceptical about the AstraZeneca vaccine and the Prime MInister once again took this opportunity to assure the people that the vaccine is approved by the WHO.